We had a canning failure!

Our canning failure

In a recent canning session, we had a canning failure.  While this failure is common for many, this was the first time we experienced it.  This occurred in our canning session for bread and butter pickles which we shared recently on our blog.  This was disappointing but we tried to remind ourselves that it can happen to anyone.  And no one, not even the most experienced canners are able to avoid this completely.

What happened?

Well if you’re reading along and trying to guess what occurred.  Two jars broke during this canning session.  As a result, we lost two pints of bread and butter pickles.  After we processed these jars the recommended ten minutes and pulled the lid off the canning pot we saw that two of these jars had broken.  All of their contents were loose in the water and all of the other jars were sticky as a result.

We realize this can happen to anyone but we must have had a streak of luck as we hadn’t lost any jars previously.  In fact, in the last seven years we have been canning, this was the first time we lost any jars.  You might be wondering why we are making such a fuss about this but if you have grown and canned any of your own food you will understand.  Even if you have made and canned your own food, you realize how hard you work to produce and put food up on your shelves.  Therefore, it can really be a blow to your confidence when you are working so hard to provide for your family.

Why do jars break?

We decided to do some research to determine if there was anything we could have done differently to prevent this from happening.  What we found is a jar can break during canning for several reasons.  One reason is for the jar to have had crack.  We thoroughly check our jars prior to canning and did not notice any of our jars to be compromised.  Another reason is for the jar to have been put directly on the bottom of the pot instead of a canning rack.  We always use the rack that came with our canning pot so we don’t think that is the case either.

Another reason is for the band to have been screwed on so tightly that air cannot escape during the canning process.  This results in pressure building up inside the jars and causing them to break.  We would like to think that we only ever tighten our bands “fingertip tight” and we don’t over-tighten them.  Therefore, we also don’t think this was the case either.  Other reasons that a jar can break is due to thermal shock, due to excessive internal pressure break or impact break, none of which we feel is the case for our jars.  The last reason is just that the jar is old and is somehow compromised or the glass has weakened.  We believe this could be plausible as just about all of our jars are used.  We have purchased jars from second hand stores, garage sales, estate sales or were gifted them from family.

Why did our jars break?

While we would like to know exactly what caused our jars to break, we probably won’t ever know.  We can speculate that this happened as a result of our own error.  We can also speculate that this happened because of these jars being old and compromised somehow.

What we do know is we won’t let this discourage us and will instead be mindful of this as we can in the future.  We will continue to thoroughly clean and check our jars prior to any canning session.  We will also follow all food preservation methods in accordance with National Center for Home Food Preservation https://nchfp.uga.edu/.

We wanted to share this experience not to scare you but to let you know that it can happen to anyone.  Even if we follow everything by the book, we might still lose a few jars here and there.  What is important is that we are doing what we can to put food on our shelves for long term food storage.  In this way, we will continue on in our journeys to becoming more self-reliant.  Thank you for stopping by and visiting Sunup to Sundown!  We’ll be back soon with another recipe or update regarding our garden or our journey to becoming more self-reliant.

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